Page 94 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Some areas of public grass are watered in the ACT; so the question of whether or not to water Green Square is a question of priorities, not water availability. Other less-used lawn areas in Canberra are currently irrigated purely for aesthetic reasons. Surely it is better to prioritise watering Green Square rather than to water large tracts of grass that are never used just so that it looks pretty.
Finally, there is the issue of the people and businesses affected by this not being properly consulted on the plan to remove the lawn and re-landscape the area. The fact that a petition has arisen on this issue is an indication of dissatisfaction with the way that it has been handled by TAMS and the government.
For these reasons, I would ask that arrangements be made to maintain the existing lawn at Green Square so as to keep it as a green space for the community to enjoy.
Mr Stanhope: I ask leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement concerning portfolio responsibilities.
Mr Seselja: Just before we grant leave—and we are very happy to grant leave—I would like to put on the record—
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Mr Seselja, would you like to seek leave to make a statement?
MR SESELJA: Yes, I would.
MR SESELJA: I wanted to clarify that we put through a message, I understand, in relation to the forms of the house. Particularly in other places, ministerial statements are made by leave. Leave is a courtesy of the house. We are very happy to extend it but we simply ask, in response to that courtesy, that ministers actually grant us the courtesy of informing us of the nature of the ministerial statement prior to it being made and, if possible, providing some detail. In other parliaments, I understand, they provide an embargoed copy of the speech prior to it going forward.
We believe that is reasonable. We believe that in a new era, where we will be working together, it is a reasonable request to make in order for the Assembly to grant leave. Leave is a courtesy. Ministers should repay that courtesy by giving some information to members so that we can prepare. In some cases we can respond to those ministerial statements. I do not think that is an unreasonable request.
We will grant leave today but we would simply put on notice to the government that we may have to sit down and work out some procedures that are reasonable so that when ministerial statements are to be made by leave we also get some information prior to that statement being made.